Mankato, Minn. – Brian Haar (San Diego) topped off a huge night with two-run, go-ahead double in the bottom of the eighth inning to give the Dogs a 9-8 win over Eau Claire Saturday night at Franklin Rogers Park.
Things got interesting in the eighth inning as the Express came back to take the lead. Nolan Fadness (UW-Oshkosh) got the scoring started with an RBI single to right center and was followed by a Brooks Pinckard (Baylor) sac fly to tie the game. With Fadness on third, John Brebbia (Elon) uncorked a wild pitch that scooted through Xorge Carillo’s (Arizona State) legs to put the Express up 8-7.
After the MoonDogs (27-14, 4-4) gave back the lead, Haar’s (San Diego) heroics gave the Dogs the lift they needed. With the bases loaded and one out, Haar lined a Matthew Kline offering to right, scoring KC Serna (Oregon) and Danny Miller (Minnesota State) to put the Dogs up for good at 9-8.
Haar had arguably his best game of the season, going 3-5 with two runs and three RBI. Ryan Durant (Iowa) continued his stellar season by going 3-4 with a run and an RBI, while Carillo posted two hits and two RBI.
Andrew Leonard (UIC) led the Express (23-16, 2-7) with three hits, while Fadness gave the MoonDog pitching staff fits, going 2-3 with three RBI. Nate Baumann (Augustana) also scored three runs for the Express.
Brebbia picked up his first win of the summer (1-1) by hurling the last one and two-thirds innings and striking out three. Kline took the loss (0-1), throwing the eighth inning and allowing two earned runs on three hits.
Both teams came out swinging as Eau Claire put up a three spot in the second, while the MoonDogs answered with four of their own in the frame. Matt Fritz (Bradley) and Fadness had the big hits that inning for the Express with two, two-out RBI doubles.
The MoonDogs quickly came back to take the one-run lead. Carillo lined a two-run single down the third base line and was followed two batters later by a Serna sac fly and a Miller RBI double to put the Dogs up 4-3.
Two runs in the third gave the MoonDogs an even bigger cushion as Haar and Durant drilled RBI singles for the 6-3 MoonDog lead. After Fadness earned another RBI with a bases loaded walk in the fourth, the Dogs got the run right back via a Jimmy Patterson (Arizona State) sacrifice fly for the 7-4 lead. The Express would put up one more run before the wild eighth inning.
The MoonDogs will meet-up with local and North Division rival Rochester tomorrow at Franklin Rogers Park, while the Express will head to South Division foe La Crosse. First pitch for Mankato-Rochester will be at 6:05 while Eau Claire and La Crosse will get underway at 5:05.